Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is my new favorite salad. Or rice-and-vegetable-medley or side-salad-that’s-really-a-main-dish or whatever it should be called, I’m loving it.

If this doesn’t get you excited about eating your vegetables and brown rice and tempeh, nothing will.

It’s so good that you may choose tempeh over homemade Twinkies.

Well, you may. I may still have the Twinkies for dessert.

I used a pre-chopped vegetable mix, which saved time, but it would be the perfect recipe to clean out the odds and ends that are lingering in your vegetable drawer.

Or if you over-buy fresh produce or have a garden that’s exploding all of a sudden with fresh vegetables (zucchini comes to mind), toss any of it in here. There is not one vegetable that I can’t see working in here. Okay, maybe not habenero chiles but aside from those, I’d toss it in.

The oranges gave this dish some pop without dominating the flavor.

I used an ample amount of cumin, which is one dominant flavor in taco seasoning mix. If you like the way taco seasoning mix and tacos taste, this recipe is for you.

The recipe turned out to be a Trader Joe’s special. I didn’t set out for it to be that way, but I picked up the veggie mix and then realized that all the other items I chose to incorporate in the recipe were from TJ’s.

Gotta love a bargain vegan meal.

Let’s get cooking:

Sautee cubed tempeh in olive oil for a minute and toss into a bowl.

Warm the rice with a drizzle of olive oil and toss that into the bowl.

Sautee and season the veggies and toss them into the bowl.

Slice the oranges and toss them into the bowl.

Lots of bowl tossing and not much time passing.

About 10 minutes from start to finish.

Whisk up the marinade with orange juice, balsamic, and seasonings.

Pour it over everything that’s in the bowl and toss.

I first made this salad first using half packages of everything shown; half the package of rice, tempeh, and the veggie mix, thinking there’s no way we’d want more than 4 cups of this salad at once. But it was so good that a day later, I made it again.

Skylar kept saying, “Mommy I want more of that rice stuff.”  And I said, you know what honey, so do I.

So I made the other half of everything in the packages and stunk up my house a couple days in a row with the smell of sauteeing cabbage and broccoli. Delicious.

This is great served warm from the pan, but don’t fear that leftovers will be soggy or somehow not as good.

Ironically, I preferred the leftovers a day later, un-warmed and eaten from the little plastic food storage container I had stored it in in the refrigerator. Cool salads are great for summer and the marinade fully absorbed into the rice and the flavors married.

Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, GF if tempeh is used) - A healthy & hearty salad that'll keep you full & satisfied for hours. It's healthy-in-a-hurry & ready in under 15 minutes!

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Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, gluten free if gluten-free tempeh is used)

These healthy, satisfying salad comes together quickly and easily in about 15 minutes. It's vegan and gluten-free as written, and it's easily adaptable based on the vegetables you have on hand and need to be used; fresh, frozen, or canned. Use any seasoning or spice blend you enjoy such curry, garlic, onion powder, 21 Salute, Mrs. Dash, etc. and add these to either the vegetables while cooking or to the vinaigrette. Use tofu, beans, chicken or tofu nuggest, pre-cooked chicken strips, meatballs, in place of or in addition to the tempeh. Try making marinade with lemon juice rather than orange juice and I’d add a bit of honey (or agave) for a lemon-honey vinaigrette.

Yield: About 4 cups; serves 2 very generously as an entree, or serves 4 as a side dish

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad

approximately 1/4 cup olive oil, divided into multiple uses

3/4 cup tempeh, diced in small cubes

1 1/2 cups pre-cooked brown rice

3 1/2 to 4 cups diced vegetable medley (red cabbage, green cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radishes, jicama, green bell peppers, celery)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cumin

generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, to taste

optional spices and seasonings (curry, garlic, onion powder, 21 Salute, Mrs. Dash, etc.)

1 orange, halved

Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette

juice from half of 1 orange, about 3 tablespoons

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste

1 teaspoon cumin, or to taste

pinch salt and pepper, to taste

pinch sugar, optional and to taste


  1. Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad - To a large non-stick skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the tempeh and sear it over medium-high heat, flipping as needed. Searing will take about 2 minutes. Add tempeh to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. To the skillet (you don’t have to wash it), add 1 tablespoon olive oil and over medium-high heat warm the rice, stirring as needed. Warming will take about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the rice to the mixing bowl with the tempeh and set aside.
  4. To the skillet (you don’t have to wash it), add 2 tablespoons olive oil, add the vegetables, and sprinkle with ginger, cumin, salt and pepper, optional seasonings. Stir to evenly coat the vegetables. Cook over medium to medium high, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until softened but not mushy.
  5. Add the cooked vegetables to the mixing bowl with the rice and tempeh.
  6. Slice half the orange into bite-sized pieces and add to the mixing bowl.
  7. Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette - Over a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the orange halve. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. ( I prefer more robustly seasoned food and if you don’t, scale back to 1/2 teaspoon each ginger and cumin. Alternately, add other or additional seasonings, to taste.)
  8. Pour dressing over the contents in the mixing bowl, tossing gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Related Recipes:

Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers

Tempeh and Cucumbers on a Stick with Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction Dip (vegan)

 Fig Butter & Cumin Tempeh Stir Fry (vegan)

Wild Rice-Stuffed Peppers (vegan, GF)

Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice (vegan, GF) – I made this on Christmas Day in Aruba two and a half years ago…memories

Mango Balsamic Rice, Beans, & Mixed Vegetables (vegan, GF)

Caribbean Citrus and Pineapple Veggie Stir Fry (vegan, GF)

Apple Glazed Vegetables & Edamame Stir Fry (vegan, GF)

What are your favorite warm or cool salads, “side salads”, stir frys, or one-skillet meals?

I use the word salad loosely. Many people think of a salad as cold iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing, but I think anything that’s tossed with an ample amount of vegetables, eight to be exact in this recipe, constitutes a salad.

All the salads, stir frys, and sides shown above are some of mine, but I’d love to hear yours. Link it up.


89 Responses to “Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette”

  1. Kathryn — June 12, 2012 at 1:25 am (#

    This sounds like a really great flavourful summer salad and it’s so pretty with all those veggies!

  2. Melissa (Better Fit) — June 12, 2012 at 2:15 am (#

    Wow Averie, that looks AMAZING! I’m definitely going to stick that on my menu for next week. Quick, healthy and delicious- what more can you ask for?!

    And I agree- a salad isn’t just iceburg and dressing. I generally like to chuck my salads full of veggies and pulses and grains. For a side salad, I like the combination of something sweet, something creamy and something crunchy (e.g. dried cranberries, blue cheese and walnuts). It’s pretty foolproof and offers a million combos!

  3. Lauren — June 12, 2012 at 3:37 am (#

    The colors in this are gorgeous! Hope you have a wonderful birthday hun!

  4. Taylor — June 12, 2012 at 4:53 am (#

    Beautiful pictures! That looks so delicious. I am going to be making this soon. :)

  5. Jess @ thefitspirit — June 12, 2012 at 5:01 am (#

    That looks so good and not too complicated, will definitely try it! Love the orange in it, I love to put fruit in a veggie salad!

  6. Heather (Where's the Beach) — June 12, 2012 at 5:14 am (#

    Oh wow Averie – that is simply beautiful and absolutely something I’d make. Fantastic flavor combinations!

  7. Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — June 12, 2012 at 5:57 am (#

    I absolutely adore cold grain salads, like the leftovers of this one. So easy and they somehow always feel special to me.

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — June 12, 2012 at 6:05 am (#

    This salad is so full of goodness – I love it! Can’t wait to get my tempeh on!

  9. Vita @ Juicer Depot — June 12, 2012 at 6:17 am (#

    I haven’t tried tempeh. Is that something you would get from Trader Joe’s?

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 9:11 am (#

      Yes in the picture in the post, I posted a picture of the packaging. I find theirs is the cheapest but WFs has it too but I don’t shop there much, if ever.

    • Vita @ Juicer Depot — June 30, 2012 at 6:55 am (#

      I made this recipe yesterday. I really liked the combination of the rice, tempeh and vegetable mix. Now that I tried tempeh and really liked it I am going to try all your other recipes with tempeh in it. You have so many to pick from.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 30, 2012 at 9:50 am (#

      Glad you tried it and tempeh is so versatile…and since it’s already firm, it’s faster than tofu (I have to press my tofu to get it firm or I just don’t enjoy it). LMK what else you try!

  10. Catalina @ Cake with Love — June 12, 2012 at 6:24 am (#

    This is the perfect salad for this summer, it has a nice balance of protein carbs and all the good stuff, I love those fruits!

  11. Michele Sparrow — June 12, 2012 at 6:37 am (#

    I am in the middle of a juice fast and this savory salad looks so good right now! :-) I love balsamic vinegar and use it on my salads regularly. The combo of flavors here looks absolutely delicious! Cabbage (both colors) is one of my favorite foods. I could eat it every day! Gorgeous photography (as always), Averie!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 9:10 am (#

      Thanks, Michele! And I hope you try it and keep me posted. Good luck with the juice fast…I mean juice feast as many call them :)

  12. Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition — June 12, 2012 at 6:41 am (#

    Not this is my kind of meal! Not that I don’t appreciate all the sweets that you bake but this I will make : )

  13. Ashley - baker by nature — June 12, 2012 at 6:52 am (#

    I live for bright veggie pop salads like this!

  14. Bev @ Bev Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 6:53 am (#

    Oh my gosh IN LOVE.

  15. Katie — June 12, 2012 at 7:17 am (#

    Wow, Averie. These photos are amazing – the colors just POP.

    The recipe is right up my alley too (minus the rice). I love anything with balsamic flavor and I haven’t tried it with orange yet. I’ve been loving on these kinds of dishes for dinner though – the last few nights I’ve been eating an asian style veggie bowl type thing. Grilled veggies on top of cauliflower rice with lots of cilantro.

    Cumin is my first love, as far as spices go though.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 9:09 am (#

      I didnt know cumin was your first love! I love it, too! So good you should try something along these lines…just squirt this, sprinkle that, drizzle, and you’re done :)

  16. jackie @ marin mama cooks — June 12, 2012 at 7:19 am (#

    Hi Averie. I love this savory recipe from you. I have never used tempeh, what is the difference between that and tofu? I love that you picked up everything from Trader Joes. Do they know how much free advertising you do for them? I mean, seriously. You should let them know and get some sort of commission from them.

    I know that when I advertise a favorite product for a recipe that the product is off the local grocery store shelves for a couple of weeks. When I advertised those refried beans for the Paul McCartney tacos last week, the beans I recommended were out of stock and they still are. I have noticed that with other items I have recommended. I’m sure that most Trader Joes will sell out of the above ingredients for your salad. I know I am going to pick them up for an easy lunch, maybe even today as the kids and I are hitting the pool at lunch time.

    Can’t wait to see more savory recipes!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 9:07 am (#

      Tempeh & tofu…tempeh is much firmer, has some grains “woven into” the soy, you don’t have to press it and it’s pre-cooked so you can technically eat it raw (I guess you could do the same with tofu and many do in raw desserts, blended up and tempeh is fermented. Try it!

      Funny you mention that about products selling out; after I recommended a few things from TJs this past winter, they were gone from my TJ’s for weeks. And also with a certain kind of coffee from the grocery store, it went missing. Now it could have just been coincidence, too…not trying to think that my little blog has that much influence or anything :)

  17. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy — June 12, 2012 at 7:29 am (#

    oh my gosh that looks SOO delicious! and such an easy weeknight meal! TJ’s is the best:) thanks for sharing!

  18. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — June 12, 2012 at 7:30 am (#

    gorgeous colors! I know I owe you an email back btw! Will try today for sure! :)

  19. — June 12, 2012 at 8:02 am (#

    Amazing pictures! I am making this salad for sure!

  20. Anna @ On Anna's Plate — June 12, 2012 at 8:12 am (#

    Definitely looks like a main dish to me! Delicious!

  21. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — June 12, 2012 at 8:19 am (#

    I love all the colors in this beautiful salad and the orange balsamic vinaigrette sounds fantastic!

  22. Jenny — June 12, 2012 at 9:17 am (#

    I so love your meal recipes! What a gorgeous dish this is.

  23. Anna @ The Guiltless Life — June 12, 2012 at 9:47 am (#

    Orange balsamic vinaigrette sounds amazing. I actually just did a cross-border TJ’s shop and snagged their new Balsamic Glaze. Can’t wait to try that out, maybe I’ll top this with an extra drizzle of glaze!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 10:11 am (#

      I saw that glaze there but figured I can make my own for pennies so didn’t bother but I want to try it. LMK how you like it!

  24. Dionne — June 12, 2012 at 10:06 am (#

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. Nearest TJ’s is about 2 hours away. I usually have to get a lot of things from iherb when I order my supplements.

  25. Eileen — June 12, 2012 at 10:31 am (#

    I too would pick tempeh over homemade twinkies! Especially in such a bright and vibrant salad combination. Love it!

  26. Jennie Northdale — June 12, 2012 at 11:36 am (#

    wow, this is amazing! Love adding fruits to my salads too, it really gives it a delicious tuch!
    Your pictures are simply amazing, looove all the beautiful colors!! (:

  27. Alysha @Shesontherun — June 12, 2012 at 11:46 am (#

    These all look so healthy! I’ve never tried tempeh before, but I love cold pasta salads filled with vegetables for summer.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm (#

      This is cold pasta salad without the pasta (if you want to serve it cold…or warm)…and tempeh is so easy! Try it!

  28. Cassie — June 12, 2012 at 11:58 am (#

    LOVE all the color in this salad. SO perfect!

  29. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — June 12, 2012 at 11:58 am (#

    Love this one Averie!! And I totally have bowl envy…SO darn cute!!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm (#

      Anthropologie! Just got it and it was only like $10 bucks, cheap for them!

  30. Amber K — June 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm (#

    I still haven’t found a stir fry sauce recipe I like, so I haven’t had it in years. I like any salads, side salads, and stir fries as long as fruit is not involved anywhere (yup, not even tomatoes). Fruit has it’s place, and it ain’t in my salad! ;)

  31. Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free — June 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm (#

    I love this! And I love the colors of it! They say eat the rainbow…..

  32. sally @ sallys baking addiction — June 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm (#

    all the bright colors in these photos – I am in heaven just staring at them, Averie. You make tempeh… usually dull and boring in photos really come to life!

    I like the addition of cumin here… have never paired that with tempeh before. And ya know what? I’m no vegetarian (I don’t eat red meat though – it skeeves me out) but I LOVE tempeh and it’s so easy to cook and enjoy. I need to eat more of it, I always forget how much I love it.

  33. Minerva — June 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm (#

    I would agree! Any type of veggie bowl (warm or cold) is deemed a salad in my book! My favorite this month is roasted brussel sprouts.

  34. Elana — June 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm (#

    This looks so good! I have been looking for more vegetarian dishes to make, as I contemplate making the switch completely :)

    The avocado ice cream is amazing, so creamy and delicious and I love the green color. mmm. I may have to make the cookie butter smoothie tonight, since I need to use my milk up before I go out of town Thursday… I may be developing a severe problem here!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm (#

      you can freeze milk in ice cube trays and use the milk cubes in smoothies at a later date…just fyi

      glad you like the avo ice cream!

  35. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — June 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm (#

    Dang, now that is a salad! Never thought I would actually want to try tempeh :)

  36. deirdre — June 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm (#

    The blue bowl sets off the colorful dish so nicely! Good old TJ’s always coming through with ways to make life easier! Great summer salad, looking forward to trying!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm (#

      Thanks…it’s new from Anthropologie and I am cherishing it like a kid cherishes toys on xmas morning.

  37. Paula — June 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm (#

    I love the chopped veggie mix in this recipe! Orange and balsamic is a combo I haven’t had in a long time–sometimes I forget about dressing and salad combos I’ve loved in the past. Always nice to be reminded and bring’em back! I love leafy greens with fruit (fresh or dried), nuts, and some kind of sweet and tangy vinaigrette.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm (#

      sweet and tangy is a fave combo for me and if you like that, I bet you’d love this vinaigrette!

  38. Ellie@Fit for the Soul — June 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm (#

    whoaoaa Averie! Everything looks amazing I can’t choose! The tempeh salad definitely looks good, as does the roasted grapes with crackers~mmmmm I can only imagine how good that would be for a party. :) And love the new layout. :D

  39. Ellen — June 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm (#

    That salad looks great, tempeh is downright addictive. As for your questions about favorite dishes:
    I love migas for a one skillet dish. And it may seem weird but I really love them cold too…I also have a tempeh hash which is a great one skillet thing…should you want to try:
    Tempeh hash:

  40. lynn @ the actor's diet — June 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm (#

    yum! i truly feel like you and i are food soul mates, averie. i’m always wanting to bake your stuff, then run to trader joe’s for your dinner recipes!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm (#

      Hey while you’re out running to TJs, can you pick me up some groceries, too? lol

      I have to go there tomorrow or Thursday.

  41. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — June 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm (#

    I have to laugh! The picture with the ingredients looks like my cupboards/fridge, except for the tempeh, which I never had before. I may have to pick some up from TJ’s. Your dish looks amazing!!! I love a nice veggie salad! Yum, yum!! Oh and your dressing sounds perfect!

  42. LiztheChef — June 13, 2012 at 7:40 am (#

    Trader Joe’s scores again – what a lovely summer salad and your shots are gorgeous…

  43. Katie — June 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm (#

    Two of the great loves of my life, tempeh and grain salads, brought together. This looks really amazing, I love the idea of the orange balsamic dressing. Definitely going on my must-make list! Thanks for the recipe!

  44. Gena — June 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm (#

    I saw this on Pinterest on my phone a few days ago, and have been eagerly awaiting the chance to read the post in full. It looks wonderful! So many flavors I adore. Repinning.

  45. Diana @ VeggieNextDoor — June 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm (#

    I have been looking for more ideas for FAST weeknight meals. This looks PERFECT! Thank you!

  46. Jessica — July 13, 2012 at 11:18 am (#

    Love your blog, just stumbled across it. This salad looks amazing, and i am putting it on the menue for next week. Thanks!

  47. mikelle — January 13, 2013 at 11:45 am (#

    Just made this and it was great. I used left over quinoa instead of rice and it is great. Served it on a bed of greens with avocado! YUM.

  48. Josie — May 4, 2015 at 6:08 pm (#

    This was a delicious salad! I think next time I’ll use less ginger (it was a little too spicey/gingery), but other than that it’s great! I used wheat berries instead of rice, and finely diced fresh green beans, broccoli, celery, onion, and carrots. A nice, fresh spring salad!

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